Chelsea manager Emma Hayes wants to increase the number of teams in the Women’s Super League.
There are currently 12 clubs in the top flight but Hayes is hoping that this can be lifted to 18 in the not-too-distant future:
“It’s time to grow. It’s time to go from 12 to 16 or 18 teams.”
WSL teams currently play 22 domestic league matches per season but Hayes says that, if the number of fixtures is increased, with more clubs in the WSL, it could lead to more unpredictability, which would help with the growth of the women’s game:
“Lots of people said we weren’t at our best last season but we had a record points total to win the league. There is more unpredictability than ever [in the WSL]. The opening game demonstrates that. The question we should be asking is when are we going to make our league a bit bigger?”
It’s a forward-thinking proposal from Hayes
To continue the growth of women’s football, adding more teams to the WSL is the next logical step. The more games there are, the more chance for exposure, which will help with commercial revenues.
The WSL has ambitious plans to be a £1bn league within the next decade so bold decisions like this will need to be made if the league is to grow at the expected rate.
There is a balancing act to be struck
Of course, the concern with adding more teams is that it could reduce the quality of football on show. If there are too many clubs not able to compete with the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City, results will become more predictable, which is the reverse of what Hayes and others want.
However, if more people are watching the women’s game, and there are higher and higher attendances across the board, even smaller teams should benefit, which would make a bigger top-flight division more viable.